About 150 guests attended the Nowra Show Society's 150th anniversary ball on Saturday night. The ball was held at the historical Coolangatta Estate, where Maddison Perry of Cambewarra was named the 2024 Young Woman competition winner. Former Nowra Show president Ralph Cook spoke of the show's long history, compiled by local historian Alan Clark AM. Nowra's first event to resemble an agricultural show dates back to March 1855, when a ploughing competition and other agricultural-related activities were held on the property of Greenhills, owned by the Graham family at Nowra. The Shoalhaven Agricultural Society was formed, and James Thompson was elected president, ironically a forefather of the current and 57th president of the Nowra Show Society of the same name. Mr Thompson arrived at the first show via steamer from his family's property at Burrier, west of Nowra. In 1863, a ploughing competition was held at the Numbaa racecourse paddock, and the winner was John Watson, who emigrated from England and became known as the best ploughman in the district. The shows of this time were limited to tenant farmers of David Berry's estate, the man behind Coolangatta Estate and the location of the 2023 show ball. An association for all was formed in 1869. However, it was short-lived due to the devastating floods which swept through the district in 1870. The current iteration of the society was established in 1874 at the Royal Hotel at Terara. The meeting formed the Shoalhaven ANH Association, and James Alpine was elected the first president. The society comprised 200 members, many of whose descendants are current members of the Nowra Show Society. The show was held in February 1875, once again at Greenhills. However, due to the constant risk of flooding on the flats, the show was eventually moved to its current location on higher ground. Nowra Showground hosted its first show on Thursday, February 26, 1886, attracting hundreds of patrons. In 1904, the foundation stone was laid for the present pavilion by Mr MF Morton MLA, who was quoted as saying, "The old pavilion should have burnt down years ago, and would have if they had been able to get anyone to insure it". The pavilion and grandstand cost 12,000 pounds and was constructed with the help of a building fund established in 1894. In a show of absolute dedication, 20 Nowra Show Society committee members mortgaged their farms to raise 6000 pounds for its construction. The records indicate every farmer was paid back in full.